He who has ears to hear, let him hear
(Mk 4:9, 23)
The letters which God had sent to the seven
Churches which are in Asia; each of which includes
the phrase "I know your works" and ends with "He
who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches". And today we want to contemplate on
those two subjects.
_A Message for everyone_
How nice it is that God sends messages to people,
He sends his word to everybody, to the evil and at
the same time to the good, to those who love Him
and also to those who left their first love. God even
sends His message to the Angel of the church in
Sardis whom said to him" you have a name that you
are alive, but you are dead" (Rev 3:1). And to the
Angel of the church of Laodicea whom God said to
him "because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor
hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Rev 3:15.16).
And despite all that; God still sent everyone of them a
Every person in life has to receive a message
God talks to a person in his heart, in his thoughts.
He sends him a message which is suitable to him by
any means; through a book, a sermon or through
Can you imagine that God had even talked to
Cain before he killed his own brother Abel.
God said to him "sin lies at the door. And its
desire is for you, but you should rule over it" (Gn
4:7); be careful as you are still in command of your
own will. Watch out not to fall into sin… watch out
your desire. Watch out your feelings.
God sent a message even to Balaam…
And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle
says "God, who at various times and in various ways
spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has
in these last days spoken to us by His Son" (He 1:1,
2)… in various ways…
You cannot say that God's voice hasn't
Some people God speaks to them in revelations
and dreams. Though not all dreams and revelations
are from God!
And others, God spoke to them in person as what
happened with the Prophets…
And some people God spoke to them through the
Prophets, the Bible says "And their words to the end
of the world" (Ps 19).
And God talked to everyone through the Holy
Inspiration, the Holy Bible which is God's words…
there are some people whom God had talked to
through the Angels… and talked to everyone through
sermons as Saint Paul the Apostle says " as though
God were pleading through us… we implore you on
Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God " (2 Co 5:19,20).
The word which Gods sends you might be a
word of blessing, a word of comfort, of
education, or of warning…
If only you would continually ask yourself: what is
God's word for me? You always listen to people… but
what is God's word to you?
Imagine that Jesus Christ says: To the Angel of
the church of Ephesus write… to the Angel of the
church in Smyrna… to Pergamos… to Thyatira… to
Philadelphia… to Sardis… to Laodicea… write.
Everyone has a message which is specifically
addressed to him by God.
_A commandment in the Bible_
Jesus Christ said that phrase several times in the
books of the Bible:
He said "He who has ears to hear, Let him hear"
after his talk about John the Baptist (Mt 11:15), and
after the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:9) (Mk 4:9),
after explaining the Parable of the Wheat and the
Tares (Mt 13:43) (Mk 4:22), after his speech about
the things which come out of a man which can defile
him (Mk 7:16) and also after his words about the salt
which has lost its flavor (Lk 14:35)…
He also said this phrase to the seven churches in
the Book of Revelation "He who has an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit says to the churches", He said
this phrase seven times in (Rev 2, 3).
"What the Spirit says to the churches" is
such a comforting phrase:
It means that the Holy Spirit is still talking to the
Churches, the Holy Spirit works in us, guides us into
all truth (Jn 16:13), and brings to our remembrance
all things that God said to us (Jn 14:26).
_Ears to hear_
There are people who had ears to hear,
respond and obey.
Like Abram the father of all fathers when God said to
him "Get out of your country, from your family and
from your father's house" (Gn 12), and when God
also said to him "Take now your son, your only son
Isaac, and offer him there as a burnt offering…" (Gn
22); Abram obeyed, without discussion. He had ears
to hear… Lot, when the Angel told him to go out of
Sodom… Don't stay anywhere in the plain (Gn 19)…
he listened and obeyed…
Of the most obeying creations to God's
words are the Angels.
The chanter says about them in the Psalms "Bless
the Lord, you His Angels… who do His word, heeding
the voice of His word" (Ps 103:20). As soon as they
hear the word; they immediately obey, whether to
save or to penalize…
That is why as long as we want to follow God's
words, obeying His will; we say "as in heaven so in
earth"… so we are asking to have ears which can
Examples of those who heard the word and
responded to it are Christ's Disciples.
Matthew, as soon as he heard the word "follow
me", he arose left the tax office and followed Jesus
(Mt 9:9). And so did Peter and his brother Andrew
whom immediately left the ship, their nets and their
families and followed Him as soon as they heard His
phrase "Follow Me, and I will make you become
fishers of men" (Mk 1:17, 18).
And so did James and John… and the same goes
for Saul of Tarsus (Ac 19). For that reason, Jesus
Christ blessed His disciples saying:
"But blessed are your ears for they hear".
Because there are others who have ears that
don't hear (Mk 8:11) (Rev 28:21), there are many
examples and there are many reasons for that…
Jesus Christ Himself, many of those who lived at
His time had ears but didn't listen.
_Ears that don't hear_
First ears of all which didn't hear; were
those of Adam and Eve's
They heard the commandment, but as if they
didn't. They recalled the commandment in details yet
they reversed it! (Gn 3). Why? because of another
word which was said by the serpent that over ruled
God's word to them, the serpent's word was to them
more effective and more tempting, hence the word of
God was as if was never heard.
That is why be always careful never to let
anyone grab God's word from you.
As was mentioned in the Parable of the Sower;
that birds came and devoured some of the seeds so
they didn't grow (Mt 13:4).
Seeds were sown, which means they reached the
ears, but someone devoured them…
You listen to the advice or the sermon, you are
emotionally affected, then another person comes and
hence another influence prevails over the word and
snatch it up leaving only this person's influence on
Cain heard God's warning, but it was as if he
didn't hear anything! So why was that?
There were emotions and responses in the
heart which held back God's word and
eliminated its effect… as if he hadn't heard!
The feelings of envy, resentment and anger which
were in his heart were like a strong barrier holding
back God's word. So he heard the word and was as if
he never heard it… he was busy hearing the voice of
resentment and sorrow in his heart…
God told him: beware, sin lies at the door… and you
are still ruling over it. You should not commit sin…
but Cain's inner emotions were holding him back from
listening to the advice… and after God had talked to
him, he went and killed his brother!!
Watch out for your inner emotional
responses and its dominance.
Christ talked to the rich young ruler and gave him
a word of advice. The rich young man though went
away sorrowful, and didn't listen to God (Mt19:22).
So why was that?
There is a desire inside the heart that
hinders the word from reaching there.
Despite the fact that this young man kept the
commandments since his childhood, but money wise,
he couldn't listen because at that point there was the
desire which was ruling over him keeping away every
commandment and every word. Rejecting and turning
It is as if a person is willing to listen to you
in everything, except this one thing which he
Not listening in this situation is not absolute; it
concerns only one issue which is the point of
weakness, the prevailing desire…
The wise Solomon is an example, he was wiser
than all men and from God he had acquired wisdom…
but he couldn't listen to God's word with regard to
women and his desire of loving to marry many foreign
women, he did not fully follow the Lord as did his
father David (1 K 11:1-10) and didn't keep His
If you find out that your ears don't hear; so
look for the reason?
Go to a physician to cure you, rather find a
cardiologist who can find out what desires are in you
heart. It is like a person who disobeys his parents,
the commandment and the Church, violates law as
well; it is because of the desire that is in his heart
which he wants to fulfill and the lust which blocks his
Sometimes the hardness of heart is the
cause of not hearing.
That is why the bible says "if you will hear His
voice, do not harden your hearts" (He 3:15)…
Pharaoh was that kind of a hard hearted person,
who couldn't listen to all of God's warnings, and was
not affected by all the plagues. How many times he
pleaded to Moses and Aaron, he promised to obey
then returned from where he started…
Hardness of heart begets stubbornness. And
stubbornness prohibits hearing the word:
Stubbornness that blocks the heart obstructs
thinking and no matter what is said to that person of
useful and persuasive talk; he doesn't listen!
A person who is persisting on his way of thinking
regardless of what you tell him, it is as if you've never
In such persistence there is a kind of pride where
at that point ears are blocked, in contrast to the meek
and humble person who can listen, even if he is
wrong, that person accepts rebuke and advice; he
then fixes up his way and listens.
Heretics had ears that didn't hear, pride and
stubbornness blocked those ears.
Arius for example, he didn't listen to the Patriarch's
words or to the local council which was held in
Alexandria and consisted of one hundred Bishop, he
didn't listen to Saint Athanasious' persuasive talks,
nor to the decree of the Ecumenical Council.
His stubbornness blocked his ears, and so did his
pride so he died in his heresy, without listening… self
esteem prohibited him from listening and so did the
persisting on his own way of thinking…
The same goes with every theological
dialogue which is of this same kind.
You might have a conversation with someone and
you find him prepared to answer even before you
finish what you are saying. He talks more than he
listens, doesn't want to hear and doesn't want to be
convinced; persistence and stubbornness prevents
him from doing so, he has ears that don't hear.
And so is every person who is persisting on his
own thoughts and insisting on them. It is as if you are
talking to a hard rock where, for the word, there is no
It is the same with every person who has
He might think that your advice is humiliating
him, affecting his dignity making him feel that he is
wrong and so hurting his feelings… so he is not at all
willing to listen as listening requires humbleness. For
that reason, not every talk of blame is fruitful: if you
blame the humble loving person you win him, but the
arrogant self esteemed person when you rebuke him
it becomes worse.
Herod the King couldn't hear the word of
John the Baptist.
John the Baptist's words are clear "It is not lawful
for you to have your brother's wife" (Mt 14:4). It is a
clear Divine commandment concerning illegitimate
marriages (Lv 18:16)… the Bible considers it filthiness
(Lv 20:21). But Herod doesn't listen, Herodias
temptation prevented him. The same goes with
Delilah whom her temptation kept Samson from
keeping the commandment in his ears of being a
Nazirite (Jg 13:7).
There is another influence which prohibited
God's word from affecting him.
There is another passion which whelmed over
love to God; it kept the ears from hearing… how
many times we hear God's word in readings, sermons
and in every Liturgy and it is as if we didn't hear, and
the nature stills the same. The Jews had Blessings on
Mount Gerizim and curses continually on Mount Ebal
(Dt 27, 28). Though they didn't care!!
Jesus Christ talked to the wise Jews but they
didn't hear, despite His strong convincing way; they
stuck to their opinions.
Being literal and acquiring their father's
wrong traditions and teachings, both prohibited
them from listening.
There might have been feelings of envy in their
hearts pushing them towards trying to get rid of Jesus
Christ not towards listening to his words.
What else. Are there any other reasons which
prevent from hearing?
Fear as well sometimes blocks the ears.
Pontius Pilate was confident that Christ was
innocent, he said that he had found no reason for
death in Him (Lk 23:22). His wife even warned him
saying "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I
have suffered many things today in a dream because
of Him" (Mt 27:19), though he didn't hear as fear
hindered him from listening.
He feared that they might complain to Caesar. It’s
the fear of losing his position.
And may be it was the same fear which prevented
Agrippa the King from hearing Saint Paul the
Apostle's preaching in spite the fact that he told him
"You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (Ac
26:28)… if Agrippa had become Christian; his position
as a King would have been lost.
Many people threaten others and through fear
they destroy them… if you say anything, if you
escape, if you reveal the conspiracy, if you don't give
in… so and so will happen. And because a person is so
afraid so no advice at that point can save him…! You
talk to him but he is as if not hearing. Fear blocks his
There is another reason why ears are
blocked, it is recklessness and indifference.
Lot advised the people of Sodom to get out of the
city before its destruction, they laughed at his words
"But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking" (Gn
The same goes for Paul the Apostle whom when
he talked in Athens, they also made fun of what he
said "What does this babbler want to say?" (Ac
It is kind of recklessness, they didn't take it
seriously and so their ears were not for hearing… like
a person whom when you give him an advice he
laughs at what you say or turn it into a subject of
humor… he doesn't listen rather he makes fun and
laughs at it…
Another person who doesn't listen is the one
who is faltering between two opinions.
Ahab, if he listens to Elijah, Jezebel can totally
change his mind…
So if you want to give yourself a chance to listen,
you have to move away from the atmosphere which
can switch your point of view… it is like a young man
who hears a sermon and then because of the
influence of his friends he loses its influence.
The hardest example of not hearing is Judas,
whom betrayal hindered him from listening.
How many times did Jesus Christ warn him…
though betrayal was blocking his ears in addition to
his desire of loving money. The heart was in mess,
his ears as well… that is why it didn't hear.
So that your ears would hear, you should
first have the desire for listening, and the sense
of concern in carrying out, you should be longing
for hearing the word even if it costs your life.
If the divine voice came to you, preserve it in
your heart, inside your will. As Saint Anthony did
when he had heard God's word and he immediately
carried it out seriously and rapidly, without delay.
Let's assess ourselves, how many times did
we hear and didn't implement, as if we didn't
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